Photo by @renan_ozturk
The moment before the storm atop Cerro Colorado, Patagonia. Climbing here not only revealed not only incredible route potential but more insight into the complex Patagonia conservation story. To get to the cliff we enlisted the help of Domingo, a Gaucho whose family owns the surrounding land at the base. He grew up herding sheep here - “when I was 11 my father had me spend 3 months living up at the base of the rocks to tend the sheep living in the cave previously occupied by the Tehuelche Native tribes”. Laying on his sheep skin mat he looked incredulously at us, our drones and junk-show of climbing/camera gear. I don’t speak spanish, so I gathered a few tidbits of info from @andresbozzolo but overall I sensed the conflict going on inside of him. Due to the conservation work this place is on the verge of becoming a National Park and it became illegal to kill foxes and puma, and with those populations surging and killing the flock it became impossible to keep the family sheep tradition alive. ~
The future of this place is probably some kind of advanced sustainable eco-tourism (like @tompkins_conservation has done in Parque Patagonia), something Domingo can’t quite grasp yet. I’m sure in the moment he hoped it didn’t mean more gringos like me taking his photo. His culture even though it’s non-native and originated from the spanish in the 1600’s has evolved into something beautiful, something of its own.
It’s a similar struggle all over the planet. How do we move forward and do the right thing for these wild places while educating and helping those who already have the deepest connection to the land?
We didn’t see Domingo again since the horses went down the hill before we finished climbing. We hiked away as he lounged with his nephew on the soft grass by a natural spring. “I had a way of whistling to the dogs and could control the entire herd. My nephew never learned to whistle, he has a cell phone and other work...” ~
With @chrisburkard @jamesqmartin @_ryanhill_